How to Create a Bootable Fedora USB Drive

Fedora Live USB Drive

This guide will show you how to download Fedora and create a live bootable Linux USB drive. It assumes you are using Windows to create the USB drive and elaborates further on the method provided in the Fedora Quick Docs.

You will need a blank USB drive, a Windows PC, and a working internet connection.

01
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Get Fedora Linux

Fedora Linux Website

The Fedora Linux distribution has been simplified and now comes in three different formats:

The workstation version is the one you would use for general home use and the one that this article focuses on. The Fedora homepage provides links to the three different formats.

To download the Workstation version, click the "Workstation" link from the website. You then have the option to download the latest 64-bit or 23-bitversion of Fedora.

Note that if you plan to install Fedora on a UEFI based computer you will need to download the 64-bit version.

02
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Get Rawrite32, the NetBSD Image Writing Tool

RAWrite32

There are a number of tools out there that can create a Fedora live USB drive, but this guide will use Rawrite32 (also known as "The NetBSD Image Writing Tool").

The Rawrite32 download page offers four options:

  • The Win32 setup program lets you install Rawrite32 in the same way that you would install many other Windows applications. You should only choose this option if you intend to use the software on more than one occasion. If you are just using Rawrite32 to create a Fedora live USB drive, then it is overkill to install the software.
  • The Win32 binary and documentation option is a zip file which extracts the files required to run Rawrite32 along with user documentation. 
  • The raw executable zipped option is the same as the above except for the fact there is no user documentation.
  • The source code is useful for developers who want to add new functionality or fix bugs.

The best option for creating a Fedora USB drive is the raw executable zipped option.

After the file has downloaded, extract the zip file and double click on file called Rawrite32.exe.

03
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Create a Bootable Fedora USB Drive

Write Fedora Image With Rawrite32

The Rawrite32 application has a simple interface. Make sure that you have inserted a blank USB drive into your computer.

Click the Open button and navigate to the downloads folder. Find the Fedora image that you downloaded earlier.

Click on the target dropdown list and choose the drive letter for your USB drive. Before writing Fedora to the USB drive it is worth looking at the checksums listed in the program messages box.

How do you know that the image you downloaded completed successfully and how do you know that it is an official image? You can compare the checksums with the values on the verification page.

Clicking on the 64-bit link on the Fedora verification page shows the following information:

-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
Hash: SHA256
4b8418fa846f7dd00e982f3951853e1a4874a1fe023415ae27a5ee313fc98998 *Fedora-Live-Workstation-x86_64-21-5.iso
-----BEGIN PGP SIGNATURE-----
Version: GnuPG v1.4.11 (GNU/Linux)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=IbzG
-----END PGP SIGNATURE-----

If you compare the sha256 value within Rawrite32 to the sha256 value on the Fedora verification page, they should match. If they do not, then you have a bad image and should download it again.

If the keys match, you are good to go. Click the Write to disk button to create your live Fedora USB drive.

04
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Boot With the Live Fedora USB Drive

Fedora Image Created

The Fedora image will now be written to the USB drive and a confirmation message will appear indicating the amount of data written to the disk. If your machine has a standard BIOS (i.e., not UEFI) then all you need to do to boot into a live version of Fedora is to reboot your computer with the USB drive still plugged in.

After rebooting you might find that your computer still boots into Windows. If this happens, you will need to enter the BIOS settings and change the boot order of devices so that the USB drive appears before the hard drive.

If your machine has a UEFI bootloader, then follow these steps to turn off fast boot and boot into Fedora.